The exhibition has been set up as a suite of sequences on themes striving to illustrate what lies behind Art Déco’s international success and its influence in various forms of artistic expression. With its sleek, powerful geometric lines, Art Déco style (1919-1940) stands out thanks to its lively appeal. Born of the impetus driving French artists such as architects Henri Sauvage, Robert Mallet-Stevens, Roger-Henri Expert and Pierre Patout, designers André Véra, Louis Süe, André Mare and Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann, fashion designers Paul Poiret and Jean Patou and sculptors Martel, Janniot and Sarrabezolles, it is the product of a vision shared by various artistic spheres.
It starts with a comparative study of differences and points in common with Art Nouveau using plans, mock-ups and photographs of Henri Sauvage’s Villa Majorelle in Nancy and Robert Mallet-Stevens’ Villa Cavrois. The exhibition then presents major French designers whose 1910–1919 output already bore distinctive Art Déco features: architects
Henri Sauvage and Auguste Perret, designer André Véra, fashion designer Paul Poiret and interior designer Jacques-Emile Ruhlmann. Next comes a large sequence devoted to the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs and Industriels Modernes, the name of which led to the coining of the term «Art Déco». The last major section focusses on the global resonance of this aesthetic movement. Further to the huge success of the 1925 Paris exhibition, French architects, artists and designers were invited to demonstrate their talents in major cities all over the world.